Monday, September 21, 2009


The Film: 9
The Participants: the voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connolly, and many more
The Dealio: OK, so first, a little rantique (half rant, half critique): am I the only person on the face of the earth who is getting 'over' the word 'dystopia'? I mean, as a word, it's just fine. However, having never heard the word until about 15 years ago, (OK, a bit earlier, re: A Clockwork Orange. That time, it truly fit), I begin to weary of every person involved in a film which is lacking in originality, but was filmed entirely with a smudged, dirty lens, in grey, black, brown or smog-navy, giving themselves a free pass from doing any heavy lifting on the creativity end of things by smacking on the 'd word' label. As if that excuses anything (Gamer, I am staring right at you!).
Whew. Feeling much better, I am moved to continue with the film '9'. Yep, billed as 'an insightful view into a dystopian society'. Pu-leez! Briefly, the story takes us PH (post humans) on an Earth that is grey, black, brown and, also, lest we forget, smog-navy. The sole 'survivors' are a ragtag set on 9 burlap creatures having been gussied up with the tools that seem to presage their personalities and/or assignments in this new world. The old world ended when machines outsmarted their human creators, and we can see that this is a bad thing, because the quasi-human burlap thingies are the sole possessors of the remaining remnants of human emotions: bravery, kindnesses, caring, loyalty, etc. First- the art direction is sumptuous, clever and entertaining in a way that bumps right up against scary (again, this was a PG-13 film with many, many little ones under the age of 5 in attendance. But you must have read my previous rantique, no?). The story is neither particularly inventive nor revelatory, and is undeserving of the beautiful renderings of both machines and burlappies. I found myself checking my watch more and more as the movie progressed on little cats' feet. There, that's not so good, is it?
The Grading Session: 3.25 stars out of 5. Mostly for the art of the thing.
Lessons Learned: Be cautious when a film is described as being 'dystopian in theme and nature', even if the contributors are some extremely talented individuals.

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